UTG’s 31 Days Of Halloween: ‘Urban Legend’

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Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is more loved by the UTG staff than Halloween. With the arrival of October, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a plethora of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day, including the one you’re about to read.

31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring daily feature that will run throughout the month of October. The hope and goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror (or Halloween themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home. If you have a suggestion, contact us and we may include your favorite scarefest in an upcoming column!

Day 12: Urban Legend (1998)

Not a lot of people know this, but my first introduction to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was by way of Urban Legend. It seems quaint now but when my friend acquired the film for me for my 12th birthday, I was not yet familiar with either Bonnie Tyler or the power of 80s pop ballads. As a direct result of this, for several years thereafter I came to know it only as the song you least want to be singing along with (badly) when some hooded lunatic deprives you of your head.

Many power ballad-enriched years later, Urban Legend still feels like your archetypal long-lost gem. It was familiar to us youths back in the turn-of-the-century era because it had Pacey from Dawson’s Creek in with a bad dye job, and a rather pleasingly effeminate type who rocked large shiny blue eyes long before Elijah Wood made them popular. Don’t let the fact that the latter turned out to be Jared Leto get in the way of your revisiting this underappreciated gem. There’s also Tara Reid being taken out with an axe, Supernatural-esque twists on traditional urban myths, a light introduction to the Bloody Mary trope (eat your heart out, Paranormal Activity), and most adorably of all, prolific use of a CD Walkman.

Urban Legend exists in that short-lived pantheon of post-Scream slasher movies that tried to ape the latter’s success with minimal results. One of the more notable things about this one is the older actors are more well-known than the youths (Robert Englund finds himself on the wrong end of a killing spree for once), and it takes clear advantage of the late Nineties’ inexplicable fondness for parkas. Indeed, before hoodies were seen as suspicious and dangerous, fur-trimmed coats spelled lethal and imminent doom. It is, however, as gloriously enjoyable a cheesefest as that delightful decade has produced, and if you haven’t seen it before you may find yourself occasionally unnerved. In one scene, the lead character’s roommate is brutally bumped off while she’s literally in the next bed, leaving her to wake up the next morning to the cheerful sight of “aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light” scrawled in blood on the wall. In the words of Sir Michael Caine, you can’t beat that.

(P.S. Not that we’d be, er, saying anything but do be advised that this film is more easily accessible than most for those proficient in Google.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNY5KVhXltI

 

Editorial written by Grace Duffy
Last year’s Day 12 film: The Collector

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